After six fights and six victories inside the octagon, Francis Carmont will get an opportunity to shine against one of the best middleweights in the UFC. When Carmont locks horns with Ronaldo Souza on February 8, it will the opportunity the Frenchman has been waiting for. A victory could propel him to the top of the middleweight division.
Carmont’s situation is similar to that of Matt Brown, who will be fighting one of the three best welterweights in the UFC in Carlos Condit in his next outing. Carmont has been able to string together six wins in a row against subpar opposition. His signature win in those six fights came against Constantinos Philippou, who was well on his way to middleweight title contention at the time.
A member of the famous TriStar Gym, Carmont is a smart fighter. Against Philippou, he took away his opponents boxing and smothered him for the entire fight on his way to a unanimous decision victory. He is not afraid to make a fight ugly to get the victory, reminiscent of Rory MacDonald and Georges St. Pierre.
Souza will be a different kind of challenge for Carmont though. He has the experience and talent to make Carmont look foolish if allowed. With a 2-0 record inside the octagon and riding a five-fight win streak, Souza will enter the fight hungry and itching to get a title shot.
Souza is a talented submission expert. 14 out of his 19 wins have come by submission, and he has proven that he has decent stand-up with his recent TKO victory over Yushin Okami. He has also fought better opposition than Carmont in Okami, Luke Rockhold and Robbie Lawler.
Carmont will have to pull out all the stops to prevent a Souza victory, and he has all the tools to do it. The question is, will he show up and deliver? It’s a 50-50 chance. If he does, he could be well on his way to a title contender eliminator bout or a title shot.